Brutal Price hammers Harrison

  • Last Updated: October 14 2012, 0:29 BST

David Price retained his British and Commonwealth titles with a brutal first-round knockout of Audley Harrison that almost certainly sends the former Olympic champion into retirement.

Price leaves Harrison down and out (leighdawneyphotography.com)

By his own admission, Harrison was drinking in the last chance saloon - a place he seems to have resided for quite a while - and stated a sixth professional loss would end a career of perplexing underachievement.

The last time Harrison topped the bill in a packed north west arena he was dispatched by David Haye in an embarrassingly timid display in Manchester two years ago next month.

On that occasion, a countryman operating at a higher level allowed him two untroubled rounds before administering the finishing touches. Price did not give him the luxury.

A quiet opening unravelled rapidly for Harrison as soon as he tasted the fearsome power Price carries in his right hand and after just 82 second he lay prone on the canvas.

A national hero when he brought gold home from Sydney 12 years ago, a stark demonstration of how far the 40-year-old has fallen in the public's affections came when he walked to the ring to a chorus of boos and chants of 'Who are you?' before Liverpool's Echo Arena crowd opted for a courser version.

By contrast, ardent Liverpool fan Price was afforded a spine-tingling reception to the strains of You'll Never Walk Alone

The two giant combatants initially came cautiously to the middle of the ring, Harrison stalking behind a high guard.

The veteran landed the first punch of the contest, but his left to the chest was of little consequence. When Price finally connected, it was anything but.

Finding the range with a jab more inquisitive than authoritative, Price detonated a fierce straight right that caught Harrison flush on the chin and sent him reeling towards the ropes.

As when Haye had Harrison in trouble, Price scented blood and would not relent.

Harrison covered up under the inevitable barrage that followed - briefly to reasonable effect - but he had nowhere to go.

A chopping Price right-hook got through forcing Harrison's head to rock sickeningly back over the ropes, prompting referee Howard Foster to step in as further punishment rained down and the defeated fighter slumped flat on the floor.

Price has now knocked out 12 of 14 opponents faced in an unblemished career to date and looked every inch the heir to the Klitschko brothers.

But it is questionable how much can be taken out of a win against a man who has so squandered his talent and now serves only as a cautionary tale to 2012's golden generation.

Immediately after the bout, Price's promoter Frank Maloney announced his man will face seasoned veteran and former world title challenger Matt Skelton on December 8.

Skelton, who enjoyed a similarly light night's work by stopping Croatia's Jakov Gospic in two rounds on the undercard, flanked Price at the post-fight press conference with Harrison en route to hospital.

A suspected broken nose and mild concussion were the reported ailments and Price was relieved his fallen foe was not more seriously hurt.

"I shocked myself again really with the power in my punches," said the 29-year-old.

"I didn't expect to do that to Audley Harrison so quickly. If anything I thought I'd break him down over a period of time and get to him after a good few rounds.

"I think once I smelt blood I knew I could finish the job and that's what I've done, I took him out.

"I'm just pleased he's all right. As I said before, I've got a lot of respect for Audley despite the bad name he's got for himself.

"He'll always have my respect for what he did in the Olympics and I'm just pleased he's okay."


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